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Charity Patrons Peter Andre and Jodie Kidd, and Vice President Sally Gunnell were among the 535 guests who attended our fundraising ball, The Snowman Spectacular, on Saturday 30 November at the Hilton Brighton Metropole.
£404,665 was raised on the night to support local children with life-shortening conditions and their families.
Inspired by Raymond Briggs’s classic picture book, The Snowman™, the 12th annual fundraising ball for Chestnut Tree House was hosted by BBC Sussex presenters, Allison Ferns and Danny Pike. Guests were invited to become part of the story of Chestnut Tree House and The Snowman – to enjoy a night of friendship, fun, and creating memories to treasure. By celebrating for an evening, supporters raised money to enable local families to create memories of their own.
Guests enjoyed live music from tribute band, Killer Queen; violinist Miguel Santiago; singer Keris Lea and party band Candy Apple Blue; as well as an LED show by Feeding the Fish.
Trina’s son, Craig, has a progressive neurological condition which means he is very fragile, has no independent movement and needs constant round-the-clock care. In 2008, when Craig was seven, Trina and her husband found out about his condition and were told that he would probably only live for another year. This year will be Craig’s 11th Christmas since his diagnosis. She talked about how Chestnut Tree House is a place where her boys spend their best time together, and the family can create precious memories to last a lifetime.
Trina was introduced and thanked by Chestnut Tree House Patron, Peter Andre; and Craig’s older brother, Adam, joined her on stage at the end of her speech.
This was followed by the Spectacular Auction, led by auctioneer Nick Muston. There were a host of money-can’t-buy experiences for guests to bid on, including an Olympic Experience in Barcelona with gold medallist Sally Gunnell, which went for £1,700; tickets to see Peter Andre in Thriller Live (£2,400); and a chance to learn to cook with MasterChef Champion 2018, Kenny Tutt (£4,000). The highest amount raised for a single auction lot was for an exclusive Golfing Day at Beaverbrook with Jodie Kidd, which includes a helicopter flight courtesy of AJW Aviation and dinner at her pub, The Half Moon; which went for £17,000.
Brighton businessman and charity Patron, Robbie Raggio, took to the stage for the final two auction lots – asking people to donate or pledge to Pay for a Day or Pay for an Hour of care for local children with life-shortening conditions and their families. Guests generously pledged to pay for 42 days of care and a further 130 hours of care for the coming year.
Other activities on the night included an online auction with over 50 lots; and a Christmas Gift Grotto, with over 500 mystery gifts donated by Temple Spa, Green People and other supporters. There were also two prize draws with the chance to win a three-night break to New York, donated by Kuoni and Virgin Atlantic; and an overnight UK Spa Break courtesy of South Lodge Hotel.
Rosemarie Finley, CEO at Chestnut Tree House said: “It was a spectacular event, and we’d like to thank everyone who joined us and helped make it happen. We are always humbled by the support shown at The Snowman Spectacular and £404,665 is an incredible amount of money to have raised. Our supporters play a vital role in ensuring that local children and families receive the care and support they deserve, for however long they need it. Enabling children to do all the things many of us take for granted. Allowing families to say goodbye in a way that is right for them. And creating memories that are priceless.
“There are so many people to thank, but the event wouldn’t be the same without the support of our friend and Patron, Raymond Briggs, who has supported Chestnut Tree House for many years and generously allows us to feature The Snowman in our Christmas campaign every year. I’d also like to say a special thank you to our guest speaker, Trina, who very kindly shared her story with everyone.
“The Snowman Spectacular wouldn’t be possible without the support of our sponsors. We’d like to thank our headline sponsor, Willmott Dixon; as well as Amber Scaffolding, Creative Pod, E3, ECE Architecture, Eurovine IT, Gemini Print, Gusto Wines, Hilton Brighton Metropole, Oliver & Graimes, Platinum Publishing Group, and Sussex Life. We’d also like to thank Robbie Raggio for his ongoing support, all the guests, and the many wonderful volunteers who worked so hard before and during the event.”